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Nicholas S Johnston 10-28-2014 11:39 AM

The always slow class
Looking for some advice here. We run a gym in a small town of 7,500 with a pretty steady membership. Most clients have a 3x class per week membership so naturally they come mon, wed, fri. Our Tuesday and Thursday noon class is typically very slow. Could be 0 up to 3 Just depending on the day. Sometimes only 1 then that person leaves because they don't want to workout alone. A part time coach coaches all the noon classes for us. Should I get rid of the Tuesday and Thursday noon class completely? Maybe make a mandatory sign in before 11am? No sign ups no coach type of deal? Has anybody has this same experience and any advice?

Clint Harris 10-28-2014 01:06 PM

Re: The always slow class
Probably tons of options. Here's the options I can think of:

- Kill it
- Turn it into Open Gym
- Turn it into a specialty class. Maybe endurance, lifting, strength, mom's class, bring the kids, circuits, team wod, bring a friend, something else that you can add value to your members or open to other people in the neighborhood.
- Kill your 3-day a week membership. Keep it at punch card and unlimited. No sense adding complexity to your membership and the lack of participating "3-day" members will affect existing "unlimited" members
- Perhaps open up your 3-day'ers into unlimited for 2 months to see any or demonstrate changes in motivation and performance: then see previous option. If you can demonstrate value, people will pay the extra price for unlimited.
- Survey members and see what they like/want. Maybe it needs to be an extra 6:30pm class. Or a 7am class on those days in lieu of lunch.

You'll never know what works until you make a change, but measure the before and after effects.

Sean Smith 10-28-2014 02:25 PM

Re: The always slow class
How many members do you have and how many classes do you run a day? I've been in your shoes. I used to run a 7:15pm class Monday-Friday, two classes on Saturday, and Open Gym on Sunday. I would get upset because I'd get 3 people if I was lucky at the 7:15pm class. I'd also get a few people at my early Saturday class and a few at my later Saturday class. No one came to Open Gym. I eliminated classes in stages. First, I got rid of Open Gym. Then, I got rid of my early Saturday class. Third, got rid of my Friday 7:15pm class. Fourth, got rid of my Tuesday/Thursday 7:15pm class. Lastly, I got rid of my 7:15 Monday/Wednesday.

Because I gave my members too many choices, a lot of my class had low attendance. By eliminating some, it forced more people into classes (which is what I wanted). Instead of having 5 at 6:00pm and 3 at 7:15pm, I had 8 at 6pm. Every time I eliminated a class, I got more of a sense of freedom and control over my gym.

Moral of my story - Eliminate classes that aren't regularly attended.

P.S. NEVER keep a class or start a class because one or a few people say they are going to attend it. They will come for a bit and then stop coming. Stick to your guns.

Tommy Alfinito 10-29-2014 01:46 PM

Re: The always slow class
Along the lines of what Sean says - most gyms start with too many classes because they are trying to compete on times with other gyms. People are more flexible then they let on if they want to do something.

Why not set up a reservation system? - if no-one reserves the class by 11 AM or something, the class is cancelled.

When I first opened I ran all of the class. My 6:30 AM group came Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday - all of them, after a month of showing up to an empty gym, we set up Tuesday and Thursday by appointment only. They had to email me before 10 the night before. After about 2 months, I had the demand to bring it back full time. Now with so many billing software's offering registration systems, I think that would look more professional.

Scott Simmonds 11-27-2014 07:44 AM

Re: The always slow class
What do you want from your athletes?

Setting up a 3 day a week membership discourages athletes from coming 4 days a week.

Incentives matter.

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